“No one can argue about the fundamental substance of the achievements of this government. I encourage all Jamaicans to truly look at the improvements in your country. The changes that we all want are not going to happen overnight. While the changes may take some time, the government is seized of the importance of quickly utilizing the greater fiscal space available to reduce the pains and pressures of the population - Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness emphasizes that, unlike several other countries, Jamaica’s economic progress is remarkable having undergone overlapping global crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, which continues, and the impact of global inflation. Prime Minister Holness said, “Jamaica is seen on the international stage as the example of responsible management and governance. You wouldn’t hear that in the local circles because it’s not in the interest to promote that, but thankfully people who are looking on can benchmark and see it. I encourage all Jamaicans to truly look at the improvements in your country. The changes that we all want are not going to happen overnight.”
The Prime Minister notes that while the changes may take some time, the government is seized of the importance of quickly utilizing the greater fiscal space available to reduce the pains and pressures of the population.
In addressing the country's handle on inflation, the Prime Minister underscored that Jamaica, like all countries around the world, experienced a rapid increase in prices after the global crises, however contrary to previous crises which resulted in a period of further economic collapse coupled with the implementation of a wage freeze or other austerity measures, this administration has come out of global crises in a resilient position, recording economic growth higher than pre-pandemic levels. The Prime Minister said, “This is really the first time in our economic history that even through these multiple and overlapping crises the government was strategically able to respond with the CARE Programme which is the largest transfer from government to citizens in a crisis in our history.
The bestrun one ever, with not even one criticism of any form of leakage from the distribution and then immediately enter upon a programme of increasing the overall wage level of the country, particularly, over the sections that the government has control. That is a means of rebalancing spending power and the economic impact that inflation has had. Thankfully inflation is abating; it is trending down.” In addition, while recovering from the global crises the government undertook a $100 billion public sector compensation review with international net reserves 38% higher than pre-covid levels; exports increasing by 50%, the stabilization of the Jamaican dollar, a decrease in gas prices and an increased national minimum wage, among other achievements.
Moreover, the Andrew Holness-led administration has efficiently managed the repayment of debt with 28% of the dollar being used to service debts. The Prime Minister said, “In the 2015-2016 budget, before my administration, 48 cents out of every dollar was budgeted to be spent on debt service. Meaning when the government passed the 2015- 2016 budget, they earmarked 48 cents out of every dollar to pay the debt. The actual figure was more, because what you budget versus what you spend is different, so, what they actually spent was closer to 60% of every dollar on paying debt. I want you to understand where we are coming from, today debt service accounts for 28% of our expenditure.”
Regarding the compensation review, the Prime Minister stated, “No other administration could find $100 billion to increase public sector wages, do not take it for granted. Argue over how it is distributed and all the other issues, but no one can argue about the fundamental substance of the achievements of this government.”
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness noted the significant transformational projects that the government has and continues to undertake in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Jamaica Defence Force, the education system and now the protection of vulnerable children with the handing over of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency's (CPFSA), Therapeutic Centre at the Maxfield Park Children’s Home where the Prime Minister made his comments earlier today (June 29, 2023).